Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Not a good look

Yesterday National defunded Lifeline and gave the contract for suicide-prevention training to LeVa. And surprise, surprise, it turns out that the new contractor has a family connection to National:

The Ministry of Health announced LeVa as the "new, preferred supplier" for national suicide prevention training in March this year, ending a 10-year contract with Lifeline.

The switch, reported by the Herald yesterday, prompted advocates who work in the mental health sector to note that Dr Mary English, a GP in Wellington, was on LeVa's board.

LeVa says they won the contract on merit, and they might have done. But its not a good look, and it creates a perception of political favourtism and cronyism. And its that perception that matters. Its not enough for government to be clean, it has to be seen to be clean. Dr English's involvement has done LeVa and the government no favours, and her presence taints them both.